Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's too hot to train!!!

I was born and raised in super sunny Singapore - one degree north of the equator. Hot, humid, tropical, monsoony Singapore. Did I mention hot? So I deal with this so much better than poor Summer.She's a cold weather girl. She's got a really short coat and not much of an undercoat, but give her winter anyday of the week.

So tonight while I tried to train her, she just wasn't that into it.

I tried getting her to chase me for a piece of boiled chicken. She did at first, but was a little meh about it. So I put her in a sit/stay and ignored her for a bit. Then proceeded to try again. A little better.

I then put her on the leash and did a little pushing and Hupping on me. For anyone who isn't familiar with pushing, it's GREAT. Hupping is basically getting her to jump up and plant her front paws on my chest. I also like to throw in the Speak cue when she's in Hup - it seems to get her drive up more. I combined that with a few light leash pops to get her mojo flowing. Magic! She did a couple of kick ass Down during Recalls, but for some reason, her Jump finish from the front sit was slipping.

Ugh. She was fudging the front sit before, but ace-ing the Jump finish. Why was she fudging on something she used to do so well?

My guess is, she doesn't fully get the whole exercise. I must be stressing her out too much to get her drive flowing freely... So by the time she does the great front sit, she's too confused to follow through to the Jump Finish.

So what I did was to keep stepping back and getting her to Hup on me while I stepped back. At the end I asked for a Front instead of a Hup, and then asked for the Heel (her Jump finish). She made a couple of her waah-waah "I'm confused!!" sounds again, so I kept quiet for a couple of seconds, and tried again. "HEEL!" I said. BOOM! Her tookus flew up, swung around, and landed neatly in a sit/heel position.

For nervous energy dogs like Summer, sometimes it's good to apply a teeny bit of pressure to get them to narrow their drive into the behavior you're asking for. When I managed to focus her drive through the pops while hupping, she performed with much clearer drive and focus. After about 5 minutes of training peppered with lots of pushing, I released her with an OK FREE, and tossed her small bad cuz, and she dashed to chase it down.

I wish I could have kept going, but I didn't want to overdo it with her. The heat really is a doozy for her, and I have to keep remembering to always end on a high note, and always leave the dog wanting more.

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